Tue | Dec 6, 2016

Tryall battle - Members of exclusive upscale club at odds over three board vacancies

Published:Sunday | December 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Scenic Tryall Club - File

Arthur Hall, Senior News Editor

A bitter battle is now brewing for control of the scenic Tryall Club in Montego Bay, St James.

The Sunday Gleaner has learnt that the dispute surrounds three vacant positions on the board and who should fill these spaces to serve three-year terms as members of the Class of 2017.

Indications of the dispute surfaced recently when The Sunday Gleaner found that businessman and Tryall Club member Phillip Gore filed an injunction in the Supreme Court to block elections to the board of directors at its annual general meeting late last month.

Gore, in the documents filed in court, argued that the process of appointing proxies and the guidelines for the validity and use of the proxy vote were prejudicial to the candidates nominated to be appointed directors.

The court granted the injunction, but with the correct proxies now sent out, there is nothing to block the elections and what sources claim is a plot to prevent any Jamaican from serving on the board.

"There is a group calling itself 'Concerned Members', who want to hijack the board, and they have determined that there should be no Jamaican members," one source said.

"Efforts to negotiate an agreement that would have even one Jamaican on the board have failed, and there are some persons who do not intend to take it lying down," added the source.

The dispute has been compounded by claims that a well-qualified Jamaican with years of experience in senior leadership positions in the tourist industry has not been selected to fill the vacant general manager post, with no acceptable explanation as to why a less-qualified person was selected.

"There is something not right here, and I suspect that is why the former president resigned recently," said the source.

Efforts to contact lawyers representing both sides of the dispute have so far failed, while attorney-at-law Patrick Foster, who represented Gore in filing the dispute, offered no comment when contacted.

Tryall President Julia Merck Utsch has not responded to emailed questions from The Sunday Gleaner.

First opened in the 1950s, the Tryall Club's roots stretch back more than 300 years. The property served first as an English fort, and shortly after the English officially gained control of Jamaica in the 1660s, the estate began cultivating sugar.

The 2,200-acre plantation, nestled between the Caribbean waters and verdant hills, is a private villa resort with a world-famous golf course.

It includes 73 luxury estate villas and 13 great-house villas and is seen as one of the most elite villa vacation estates in the Caribbean.

arthur.hall@gleanerjm.com